The French symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé published his 16-line poem entitled "Apparition" in 1883. The poem has been qualified as the most popular among the poet's works, marked by a celestial beauty in an organized form of symmetry, that is, the 16 alexandrine verses with rhymes. The poem in a classical structure is considered to have been written in 1863 in London, England, where the poet stayed at that time with his future wife, Marie. The poem's climax represents the apparition of the radiant heroine before the speaker at a corner of the English town in a rainy evening.
The American Imagist poet Ezra Pound published his two-line poem with the keyword "apparition," which is entitled "In a Station of the Metro," in 1913. The Pound poem features the apparition of the beautiful faces in the metro station in Paris, Concorde. The condensed poem represents a twisted essence of the Mallarmé poem with a Trinitarian core of the keyword "Apparition," the French language, and the London evening. Their commonality pushes the reader to suspect an influence from the Mallarmé poem on the Pound piece.
Influenced or not, with a crucial similarity, the Pound short poem may be effective to scrutinize Mallarmé's figurative text, in highlighting the Mallarmé text's differences from Pound's own piece. The differences correspond to the Mallarmé poem's characteristics: the dramatic narrative based on the biblical anecdotes, the 14-line sonnet form in expansion, the 16 lines ascribed to a single word "fleur," and the entire poem in a lively movement raised to a heavenly eternity.
As an intertextual node, the Mallarmé poem may be viewed as conceiving the Pound haiku-like piece as a potential for its own artful development.